From 1 January 1995 until 1 January 1996, we studied the molecular epidemiology of blood isolates of coagulase-negative staphylococci (CoNS) in the Neonatal Intensive Care Units (NICUs) of the Sophia Children's Hospital (SCH; Rotterdam, The Netherlands) and the Wilhelmina Children's Hospital (WCH; Utrecht, The Netherlands). The main goal of the present study was to detect putatively endemic clones of CoNS persisting in these NICUs. Pulsed-field gel electrophoresis was used to detect the possible presence of endemic clones of clinical significance. In addition, clinical data of patients in the SCH were analyzed retrospectively to identify risk factors for the acquisition of positive blood cultures. In both centers, endemic CoNS clones were persistently present. Thirty-three percent of the bacterial isolates derived from blood cultures in the SCH belonged to a single genotype. In the WCH, 45% of all bacterial strains belonged to a single clone. These clones were clearly different from each other, which implies that site specificity is involved. Interestingly, we observe that the clonal type in the SCH differed significantly from the incidentally occurring strains with respect to both the average pH and partial CO2 pressure of the patient's blood at the time of bacterial culture. We found that the use of intravascular catheters, low gestational age, and a long hospital stay were important risk factors for the development of a putative CoNS infection. When the antibiotic susceptibility of the bacterial isolates was assessed, a clear correlation between the nature of the antibiotics most frequently used as a first line of defense versus the resistance profile was observed. We conclude that the intensive use of antibiotics in an NICU setting with highly susceptible patients causes selection of multiresistant clones of CoNS which subsequently become endemic.

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Journal of Clinical Microbiology
Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam

Vermont, C., Hartwig, N., Fleer, A., de Man, P., de Groot, R., van Belkum, A., … van den Anker, J. (1998). Persistence of clones of coagulase-negative staphylococci among premature neonates in neonatal intensive care units: two-center study of bacterial genotyping and patient risk factors. Journal of Clinical Microbiology. Retrieved from